FITNESS buffs and long-time mates Shaun Tonges, of Victoria Point, his cousin Paul Tonges, of Thornlands, and their personal fitness trainer Scott Chapman, also of Thornlands, are hoping for fine weather this weekend.
The trio will be joined by another mate from Sydney, Geoff Lloyd, to form trekking team, Team Owen, and the four men, aged from their early to mid forties, will hike a 96km course through the Gold Coast hinterland in the 2012 Kokoda Challenge, starting early tomorrow morning.
Often hailed as Australia's toughest endurance trek, the challenge raises funds for the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program, a life skills program for young Australians that helps teenagers reach their full potential and make wise life choices as they move into adulthood.
In the 12-month program, adolescents train for trekking the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, trek it, and then give six months community service to local not-for-profit organisations, including Landcare projects and Surfing with the Disabled.
This weekend's Gold Coast trek will take hook truck driver Shaun, bank manager Paul, personal fitness trainer and house painter Scott, company CEO Geoff and more than 380 other senior teams and 60 school teams along fire trails and rugged summits, and over 12 creek crossings.
The contest emulates the spirit of mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice, which was forged on the Kokoda Track in 1942.
Shaun said the four mates decided late last year to undertake the Kokoda Challenge after increasing their personal fitness levels.
"We'd all become fit at 40 plus years and it just seemed a shame to have this fitness and not do something with it," he said.
Shaun, who lost a finger in an accident two weeks ago and wasn't sure until this week that doctors would allow him to still participate in the event, said training for the challenge had included regular personal fitness sessions and street walks of 20 to 30kms in distance.
To donate to the Kokoda Challenge cause, visit
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